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in the same way, rising nearer to the east and setting nearer to the west on each succeeding day until the 21st of September, when he again rises due east and sets due west : then up to the 21st of December rises farther to the south of east and sets farther to the south of west, and on each succeeding day describing a smaller and smaller arch in the heavens and the days shortening
This becomes a matter of daily observation, as a thing which they can see with their own eyes, and interests them accordingly.
Again, the teacher should point out how their shadow is longest when the sun is in the horizon — diminishes up to noon, when the sun is highest, and then increases again until sunset - what it would be if the sun were over their heads, etc.
The following verse, from one of the Lessons, will illustrate this :
Trudging as the ploughmen go
(To the smoking hamlet bound); Giant-like the shadows grow,
Lengthen’d o'er the level ground. Questions like the following are also instructive. If the sun rise at five o'clock, half-past four, three, etc., in the morning, at what time will he set ? getting them to understand what mid-day means, and that there are as many hours from sunrise to noon, as from noon to sunset—that the difference between the hour of rising and twelve o'clock will give the hour at which he sets.
As soon as children are able, the teacher should endea. vour to give them correct ideas of the measures of time, of space, and of volume : ask them, for instance, What is a year ? they will answer, twelve months. What is a month? four weeks. What is a week ? seven days. What is a day ? twenty-four hours. What is an hour ? sixty minutes: and thus driving them into a corner, they find out the answer was not the one expected, and begin to think on the subject : the teacher should then point out to them, that a year is a measure of time, as a yard is a measure of length; that a month, a week, a day, etc., are also measures of time, but of less duration than the year; of course they
will afterwards be made to understand what duration of time the year does measure: he should then point out the great conveniences of the subdivisions of time for the purposes of civil life.
I was pleased some time ago in going into the school, to see the contrivances of some of them in making a clockface on paper, which had been the evening task for one of the lower classes; what struck me was, the great regularity of an inner and outer circle for the face, in many instances as if made with compasses ; they had had recourse to cups or saucers, or any other circular things of unequal dimensions in their cottages, but of a size which came within the compass of their paper on which they placed them, and then ran the pen round the edges; this shows that man is a contriving animal, and I have no doubt the task afforded amusement and instruction both to parent and child.
The teacher should exercise the children on the clockface, pointing out that the minute-hand goes round twelve times for the hour-hand once; that the circle on the face is divided into twelve equal parts; that while the minutehand goes once round the whole circle, the hour-hand would only move from twelve to one, or 1 th of the whole; and when it had gone twice-round, the hour-hand had arrived at two o'clock, or ths; when three times, at three o'clock, or 3 ths, and so on; and when the minute-hand had gone twelve times round, the hour-hand would have moved over twelve of these division, or 12ths : in this way they by degrees get some idea of fractions.
In the same way as to measures of length, giving them a correct idea as to the length of a yard, a foot, an inch, etc., and how many times the smaller measure is contained in the greater; and here the teacher would do well to have a two-foot rule, and make first one and then another of the children measure the dimensions of the room--the length and breadth of the door-way, or any distance between one fixed point and another--to show them to what particular purposes in civil life these measures are used; that the yard is the measure by which they buy calico, flannel, fustian, cloth, cordage, etc., all things for the purpose of clothing:
the length only being measured, the breadth being of a standard kind.
That in speaking of the size of a room, of a garden, of a field, both length and breadth must be taken into account - of a peck, a bushel, a quart, etc., length, breadth, and depth—and the particular things measured by these should be pointed out. • Āgain, as to weight, the name of all the weights used, from a ton downwards, or from an ounce upwards, speaking to them of the particular things bought at the shop by weight-of those bought by volume that fluid substances easily taking the shape of the vessel into which they are poured, make the usual modes of measuring them the most convenient; that solids, instead of putting them into any particular measure, might be more easily measured by putting them into the form of some regular solid, and then taking its dimensions, etc. A friend of the author's, speaking with a large farmer in his neigbourhood on the importance of giving the agricultural labourer a better education, observed that he thought it very probable there was not one of the farmer's labourers, and he employed a great many, who knew the number of ounces in a pound, although they were in the daily habit of buying things by these weights. The farmer could not see much good in education, and thought none of his labourers so ignorant as this ; but agreed to ask them the question on the Saturday night, when he paid their wages, and, to his own great astonishment, there was not one who could answer it.
When a class is able to read without spelling, the teacher should endeavour to interest them in what they are reading, by showing them specimens of anything which may be mentioned; pointing out whether it is of an animal, a vegetable, or a mineral kind - if a manufactured product, how made, and the nature of the raw material - if it form any part of what they eat, or drink, or wear; how it is called into use in any of their domestic concerns; in the every-day occupations of themselves, or of their parents ; connected with the mechanic trades, or with farming occupations; in short, calling their minds into exercise in every way he may have it in his power to do so.
For instance, the pen and ink with which they write ? the one animal, the other vegetable matter dissolved in water;-how the water dries away and leaves the vegetable matter behind ?-paper made from what, and how? — when first made ? — difficulty of getting books before that, and on what written? - printing, when invented ? —wooden types, afterwards metal types, etc., down to printing by steam : the slate they use;— the string which fastens it round their necks; the binding of their books, pointing out the variety of materials used, and the trades called into operation in preparing them ;-- the little woodcuts which illustrate their lessons, how made, etc.
Also in the same way the manufactured articles of ordinary clothing, how made, and whether the raw material is animal or vegetable — leather, how prepared, etc.; their stockings, knit or woven; carding, spinning, knitting.
Grammar is taught here almost entirely through the reading lessons, and in this way, far from being the dry subject many have supposed it to be, it becomes one in which children take great interest. Any attempt by giving thein dry definitions of parts of speech and rules of grammar is almost sure to fail ; for one which it interests, it will disgust ten, and therefore the thing ought not to be attempted in this way. The most natural and easy manner seems to be, first,
Pointing out the distinction between vowels, consonants, and diphthongs, from words in their lessons: when a or an is used before a noun; the difference between a table and the table, between a book and the book; a sheep, and the sheep; a deer, and the deer: whether they would say a house or an house ; a hare or an hare; an heir, an hour; drawing attention to exceptions as they occur.
The next and easiest thing would be the nouns, pointing out all the things which they see around them ; such as book, table, map, etc. : and thus they immediately knowthat the names of all visible substances are called nouns.
This being once fixed, they are soon led to the idea, that the names of things which they can imagine to exist, are nouns also; --- to distinguish the singular from the plural : that the singular means one, the plural more than one: the general rule of forming the plural by adding s; house, houses ; map, maps ; etc.; the teacher taking care to point out the exceptions as they are met with in reading, such as ox, oxen ; tooth, teeth ; man, men; loaf, loaves ; church, churches; city, cities; and to observe also, where anything like a general rule can be traced out, such as that nouns ending in ch soft make the plural by adding, es, as church, churches ; arch, arches; match, matches; while in ch hard they follow the general rule, as monarch, monarchs, etc.; in sh, as dish, dishes ; fish, fishes, etc., adding es ; in f, as leaf, loaf; changing f into v, and adding es, leaves, loaves; nouns ending in y into ies, as city, cities; fly, flies; why such words as boy, valley, do not follow the general rule. The difficulty of pronouncing s at the end of nouns ending in ch, sh, and x, show the reason for adding es.
I would strongly recommend to all our school teachers a small book by Professor Sullivan, called “The Spelling Book Superseded,” on this subject, as well as his other books, « Geography Generalized,” his “ Geography and History," and his « English Grammar,” published by Marcus and John Sullivan, School and Educational Publishers, Dublin, and by Messrs. Longman, in London. They are all excellent in their way, and have done good service here.*
The teacher would do well to exercise the children in forming the plural of any particular class of nouns as they occur; for instance, nouns ending in f, as leaf; spell it in the plural, leaves ; potato, potatoes ; negro, negroes ; echo, echoes; and making them quote all the nouns ending in f and in o they could possibly recollect; the same way for others. This calls forth great emulation, and is attended with good results.
The difference of gender, also, in nouns ought to be pointed out, a thing very necessary in this county (Hamp
* The cireulation of these excellent books of Professor Sullivan is become enormous, and now exceeds 130,000 copies a year.